Talk about polishing a turd with a legal gloss:
Contending that women have more options than they do in the event of an unintended pregnancy, men’s rights activists are mounting a long shot legal campaign aimed at giving them the chance to opt out of financial responsibility for raising a child.
The National Center for Men has prepared a lawsuit — nicknamed Roe v. Wade for Men — to be filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Michigan on behalf of a 25-year-old computer programmer ordered to pay child support for his ex-girlfriend’s daughter. The suit addresses the issue of male reproductive rights, contending that lack of such rights violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.
The gist of the argument: If a pregnant woman can choose among abortion, adoption or raising a child, a man involved in an unintended pregnancy should have the choice of declining the financial responsibilities of fatherhood. The activists involved hope to spark discussion even if they lose.
“There’s such a spectrum of choice that women have — it’s her body, her pregnancy and she has the ultimate right to make decisions,” said Mel Feit, director of the men’s center. “I’m trying to find a way for a man also to have some say over decisions that affect his life profoundly.”
Feit’s organization has been trying since the early 1990s to pursue such a lawsuit, and finally found a suitable plaintiff in Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Mich.
Dubay says he has been ordered to pay $500 a month in child support for a girl born last year to his ex-girlfriend. He contends that the woman knew he didn’t want to have a child with her and assured him repeatedly that — because of a physical condition — she could not get pregnant.
Dubay is braced for the lawsuit to fail.
“What I expect to hear (from the court) is that the way things are is not really fair, but that’s the way it is,” he said in a telephone interview. “Just to create awareness would be enough, to at least get a debate started.”
Uh, just what is there to debate here? As Steve Gilliard says, this guy–and his “movement” supporters–are just looking to legalize and legitimize something that already exists and always has, but is now (rightly) frowned upon: the deadbeat dad. The only difference is that they want to compel women to sign away their right to receive child support if they choose to keep a child the guy they had sex with didn’t want. No jail; no consequences for him. Just sex, and if she gets pregnant–too bad, so sad!
Of course, the timing of this cutely-named suit couldn’t be more convenient. The REAL Roe v. Wade is under attack in three states right now, possibly with more to follow (depending on how emboldened the anti-choicers are in their respective necks of the woods.) And even rape and incest are not acceptable reasons for having an abortion there anymore. Pretty soon, even the life and health of the woman won’t be acceptable, either.
So women are getting it in the neck from all directions: Can’t choose abortion, can’t choose to keep a child. Any way you slice it, men are taking over the reproductive decision-making…all over again. Could anything be more dreary than that?
Well, how about the specious reasoning these guys are using? That’s pretty damn dreary:
“The problem is this is so politically incorrect,” Feit added. “The public is still dealing with the pre-Roe ethic when it comes to men, that if a man fathers a child, he should accept responsibility.”
Feit doesn’t advocate an unlimited fatherhood opt-out; he proposes a brief period in which a man, after learning of an unintended pregnancy, could decline parental responsibilities if the relationship was one in which neither partner had desired a child.
“If the woman changes her mind and wants the child, she should be responsible,” Feit said. “If she can’t take care of the child, adoption is a good alternative.”
No, dude, it’s not “politically incorrect”. Stop using weasel words and call it what it is: It’s just plain old SEXIST. It’s a reversion to the pre-Roe ethic for women, since men have been living that ethic all along anyway. If a guy found out his girlfriend was knocked up, he could just split–and leave her to deal with it alone. Or he could coerce her into an abortion she didn’t want. Nothing’s changed for the guys except that now they face jail time for not paying up. But the enterprising asshole can still abandon his oopsie if he’s willing to go the distance to not get caught, and nothing’s more enterprising than the way these assholes are pursuing this court case.
Meanwhile, the original male responsibility question is still going unaddressed: HEY GUYS, HOW ABOUT YOU SHOULDERING SOME BIRTH CONTROL RESPONSIBILITY FOR A CHANGE? How about a condom–or two, if you’re really worried about unwanted pregnancy? How about you getting your tubes tied for a change? Or how about just keeping it zipped if you’re in doubt as to whether you want a child out of this particular woman? Haven’t women been taking care of that end of things alone for long enough?
At the very least, why not talk things out beforehand…and if you can’t agree on a contingency plan, you can agree not to have sex. You don’t need a contract for that.
Besides, sex-related contracts are just…so…icky.
So, guys, all’s I can say to you is: SUCK IT UP. If you don’t wanna pay up, you make damn good and sure not to knock ‘er up. But until YOU can get pregnant from sex, don’t talk to me about your “right” to decide what happens to a pregnancy. Unless it’s happening to YOUR body, it’s just not up to you to decide.